Creating space is back!
We are thrilled to introduce you to our next guest in this series - the very special Jen, of Juno Pottery. Jen is not only a fellow small business owner in Asheville, NC where Territory has it's main studio but she is also a special Territory collaborator, neighbor, and friend (Jen's kids and Summer's kids go to the same school)! Jen is humble and kind and wildly creative and we feel so lucky to get to be one of just a handful of shops that gets to carry her special pieces. Her pottery is minimal, modern and earthy and it's hard not to fall in love with everything. We were lucky enough to shoot some of our fall lookbook in her beautiful mountain farmhouse. We hope you enjoy reading about Jen and Juno pottery. And stay tuned for a special Territory x Juno collaboration coming out later this fall!
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your “story” and what do you do for a living?
I am a wife and mother of three children; two teenage boys and an 11 year old girl. We live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
When we were first married, my husband and I traveled a bit and lived in the mountains of Peru and Northwest China before landing in California. I became an English Arts teacher there, first in middle school and then as a TESOL instructor for a language institute in Pasadena. Eventually, we started a family. It wasn't until after we moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains in need of some change, including a more affordable place to live and some cleaner air, that I began my journey and eventually started Juno Pottery.
At Territory, we use the term “creating space” to mean both the creation of a beautiful physical space but also a space that allows us to relax and be present. What are some of your favorite pieces to create that home sanctuary?
Restful space is very important to me. I have always been most at peace when my life and home allow a bit of openness for possibility and creativity. Whether sitting around the table together for dinner each night in the midst of busy schedules, or two of us hopping up to sit on the kitchen counters across from one another while waiting on coffee or eating a bowl of cereal on Saturday morning, our kitchen and dining space is home to the most conversation and connecting time.
Also good books, musical instruments and a great porch or outdoor patio have the ability to create meaningful and beautiful space for me.
How do you stay grounded when things get stressful?
Breathing is something I learned long ago through yoga, but it is incredibly helpful all day long. I also try to make time for solitude and creativity. When I'm really in a funk, dancing and laughing from just being silly with my kids does wonders for bringing me back into the present moment.
Our Handwoven Cotton Pillows in Jen's backyard
What are three things you can’t live without?
I couldn't live without semi-regular times of solitude. I have a pretty active thought life, so going too long without being alone and making space for quiet feels like I can't hear myself. I couldn't live without a piano in the house. We always had one around growing up, so even though I don't play every day, having a piano in the house just feels like home for me. I think the last thing is sushi. That one doesn't need explaining!
Who is someone that inspires you? Why?
I have a lot of difficultly choosing just one person. There are so many that I both know and whom I'll never meet that inspire me for a variety of reasons. My children inspire me, each in their own way. My oldest inspires me to be more curious. He has this way of quietly observing and respecting the natural world. My middle child has a way of inspiring me to have fun, and to abandon all disbelief when reading a novel or watching a film. He can truly enter into the story and appreciate the creativity. My youngest inspires me to be more carefree and to laugh as much as possible. She is strong and filled with joy.
At Territory, we are always balancing our relationship to material goods with consciousness. What are some buying practices you engage in to make sure your consumption habits are balanced and sustainable?
I have always loved vintage shopping and finding special handmade items for the home. Choosing to purchase objects that someone has previously loved or something someone has made feels meaningful and has a way of connecting me to place. I am not completely balanced in my own buying practices, but I am working on it. Balancing my spirituality and my relationship to material goods requires practicing the discipline of choosing thoughtfully, choosing less and using more of what's already available to me.
I also recognize that it's a bit of a privilege to be able to make those choices. Handmade and sustainable products are for the most part more expensive. Balancing a family budget and the needs of kids, while also trying to be a conscientious consumer can be really difficult. Making one change at a time and not striving for immediate perfection is really important.
What are some of your most important self-care routines/rituals you engage in?
I never thought of washing my face as self-care until I discovered Everyday Oil, made here locally. It feels like a real treat, and smells incredible!
Doing absolutely nothing is often what I need for personal care. It's where true rest comes for me and where new ideas emerge. A bath at the end of the day, several times a week is the newest ritual for me. It's like a reset, but at the end of the day.
Last year was a crazy yet transformative year. What are some of the lessons you gained from that time and how are you applying it to your life now?
I have really had to learn to take one day at a time and depending on the day, one moment at a time. I have had to learn to change my definition of 'productivity and achievement' and give lots of grace to myself and to those around me. The times we are living in and the events that are happening around us can induce so much anxiety and stress. The last year or so have really been a lesson in knowing what is mine to hold, and what is mine to let go of; accepting that I cannot possibly hold it all. Overnight change is seldom possible. My current goal is to begin each day simply asking what it is that I can do today to make positive change within myself in order that I may show kindness to others. It's not easy and I fail at it all the time. But I keep trying
Thank you Jen! xoxo